For the first time in Italy a public museum like the Borghese Gallery will raise funds to acquire a work of art, the bronze bust of Urban VIII made by the baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini, for which he intends to raise 8 million euros.
It will be through a microfinance open to all Italians that the Roman gallery will finance the purchase of this sculpture from 1658, a “central work in Bernini’s production,” according to Art Bonus, an initiative of the Italian Ministry of Culture. All donors will have their name written next to the sculpture once it is exhibited, “in a place of maximum relevance inside the collection”, in addition to receiving important tax credits.
The director of the Gallery, Anna Coliva, defined this collection of funds as “a dream” and recalled that it is already carried out in museums such as the National Gallery in London or the Louvre in Paris. Speaking to “La Repubblica,” Coliva hoped that participation would be “enthusiastic and full of pride,” both with the donations of high society and with whom he could only donate “very little.”
Art Bonus was born on the initiative of Minister Dario Franceschini, in 2014, to enhance cultural patronage and so far it has already served to finance theaters, churches, castles and museums throughout the country. As they report on their website, this opportunity is an “unrepeatable occasion to enrich the collection”, since in the gallery there was a “gap” due to the lack of portraits of Cardinal Barberini.
The Roman museum, which already has some of Bernini’s most celebrated sculptures such as “The Rapture of Proserpine” or “Apollo and Daphne,” wants to complete the collection with the bust of Urban VIII, currently owned by the descendants of this Pope of the XVII century. Urban VIII, or Antonio Barberini, was a figure closely connected to the collection of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, and that is that Pope Barberini was the “ideologist of Bernini’s monumental sculptures.”
At the moment, the bust is exhibited in the Corsini collection of Florence, although those responsible for the Borghese Gallery expect donations from large and small patrons to bring it soon to the Roman museum. .